U.S.: Age And Ideology Drive Same Sex Marriage Views

ABC/Washington Post Poll Shows Majority Support Equality

By BTL Staff

The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll released today on same-sex marriage, shows most Americans overall, 56 percent, support allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, not significantly different from the all-time high, 59 percent, three months ago. Thirty-eight percent are opposed. The poll conducted by Langer Research Associates, was conducted by telephone May 29-June 1, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,002 adults, including landline and cell-phone-only respondents.

Seventy-seven percent of adults under age 30 - vs. just half as many seniors - support marriage equality. The polling data shows ideology and a vast age gap mark public attitudes.

Federal courts have handed down rulings in favor of gay marriage since the high court found part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional a year ago. Gay marriages now are legal in 19 states and Washington, D.C. Despite the flurry of court action, the issue's not on the front burner in this year's midterm elections: A third of Americans say gay marriage is important to their vote preferences, last on a list of eight issues. By contrast, 84 percent call the economy a top concern, and it's about seven in 10 apiece for the deficit, the new health care law and "the way Washington is working."

Polling Data Highlights

Same-sex marriage is favored by 84 and 62 percent of liberals and moderates, vs. just 37 and 22 percent of "somewhat" and "very" conservatives, respectively.

While those two are the strongest independent predictors, partisanship and religion also bear a close relationship to opinions on gay marriage. Support is much higher among Democrats and political independents than Republicans (67 and 58 percent, vs. 37 percent, respectively). And just 28 percent of evangelical Protestants back gay marriage, compared with 61 percent of Catholics, 65 percent of non-evangelical Protestants and 82 percent of those with no religious affiliation.

Fifty-eight percent of whites overall support gay marriage, including, notably, 75 percent of white women with a college degree. Support is significantly lower among blacks, 44 percent. Hispanics fall between the two, at 52 percent support.

There's greater-than-average support for gay marriage among Northeasterners, college graduates, $100,000-plus income earners and opponents of the Tea Party movement. And support falls below a majority among Southerners, those who haven't gone beyond high school, those living in rural areas and Tea Party supporters.

See PDF with full results and charts here.

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